7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Warning: This post is bound to be a commercial for the book by the same name. Since I wrote that book, I guess it’s all right if I pull a few things from it to write this post. After all, the principle is derived from these very verses.
There are some verses that we have all heard and have all thought we understood them all our lives. These verses are probably on that list. I looked in 25 different translations of the Bible, and they all use the same three verbs – ask, seek, knock. 30 years ago I was studying in Matthew and took notice of the fact that the acronym formed by these three words is ASK. I studied out each word carefully and came up with the original notes of a Bible study I called “The A.S.K. Principle.” Jesus was a master at using as few words as possible to get His pint across, and He always chose His words very carefully. It is no fluke that He chose these three words in this order. Asking is the key to answered prayer. Plain and simple.
Most likely you are saying to yourself “Well Duh.” Everyone knows that! I would say that is true, but does everyone know exactly what it means to ask, seek and knock? Do each of you follow out what scripture says about each one of these words? The essence of answered prayer is found by looking at each of these words carefully and seeing what the scripture reveals. That is what my book does. But I am not going to go through all 200 pages in this post. This will be the Cliff’s Notes version.
The first step is to ask. The word ask in the Greek is actually continue asking. It is not asking once and receiving an answer although this does happen occasionally. I hear way to many preachers preaching that if we have faith, we will only have to ask once and I vehemently disagree. They use scriptures like John 14:14 (If you ask anything in my name I will do it), Matthew 18:19 (If any two agree it shall be done), Mark 11:23 (if you tell this mountain to move and have faith it will be done) and Luke 17:6 (If you have faith like a mustard seed you can move a mountain). Yes, Jesus said all of these things, and He always spoke the truth. Many take this to mean when we ask, God should do it right away.
But Jesus also said If you abide in me and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will and it shall be done (John 15:7). In John 14:14, which we shared in the previous paragraph,. Jesus says we must ask in His name. Asking in His name means according to His word. In John 15:16 Jesus says that when our fruit remains the Father will answer our prayers. James said we often ask to heap things on our own lusts and this causes our prayers not to be answered. John said If we ask anything according to His will it shall be done (1 John 5:14).
The body of scripture needs to be taken together if we want to see our asking be more effective. Will God instantly bless prayer? Of course He will, if it is His will to do so. We often get to the point that we think God should fit into our timetable and do what we want. It does not work that way. He is in control, and He can do anything He wants. We can come to Him with our request and He will decide which ones to answer now and which ones to answer later. He will decide exactly how He will answer and it may not be what we expect. No matter what, we should honor Him and glorify His name.
Seeking is next. Once again, we do not seek once but continually. There are many ways we can seek the Lord. It is a necessary step to bring about answered prayer. We seek God by searching through His word. Many times the answer to our prayer is in His word already. If we are not familiar with scripture, we will not know that our answer has already been given. Seeking can also be done when we are praying or praising. Both of these are crying out to God and looking for His mercy and grace. We can seek God through meditation. This type of meditation is not thinking about His word or some song. It is just putting Him in His rightful place in our lives and trying to find His presence within us.
There are many verses that tells us to seek the Lord. They all say He shall be found if we seek Him. Do you find that true? When you take time to seek Him, is He always right there with you? The key to finding God when you are seeking Him is humility. If we come to Him boldly, we may not find Him. Now you will probably quote Hebrews 4:12 to me now. It says Come boldly before the throne. I have heard this verse used many times to justify demanding things of God. But the rest of the verse says we can come boldly if we seek mercy. When we do, we will find grace so that we might help others in there time of need. In other words, we don’t come boldly to Him to fulfil our lusts.
Hosea 10:12 says we must break up our fallow ground before we seek the Lord. Our hearts have many hard areas and they need to be broken in order to effectively seek the Lord. Once again, we see brokenness as a key to seeking the Lord. Zephaniah tells us to seek righteousness and meekness. Seek to do right and seek to be meek. Meek is a form of gentle nature which sees God in control, not me. In Matthew 6:33 we are told to seek the kingdom first. How many times do we come to God seeking things for ourselves instead of the kingdom? How any times have we gone about seeking Him in all the wrong ways/ If we want to find Him, let’s start seeking as the word tells us to.
The las step is knocking. The knocking is the waiting. Continue knocking, continue waiting. This is one of the largest keys too answered prayer. It is being patient and waiting on the Lord. It is allowing God to answer in His time, not ours. He promises to answer over and over in His word, yet we fold when we do not have the answer in five minutes. I can guarantee God will answer your prayer every time if you will just wait on Him, continue to ask and seek carefully.
In Matthew 26:38-44 Jesus tells the disciples to watch and pray. This watching is the same as waiting. He told them to do this for themselves, not for Him. He said they should watch so they would not fall into temptation. They did not do so well, and all of them left Him when the guards came. John is the only one mentioned to be near the cross. In James 1:2-4 we are told to count it joy when trials come. Why? Because when our faith is tried our patience is built. That patience perfects us. Therefore, in the midst of our trials, we use our faith to build patience – waiting!
Then of course there is Isaiah 40:31. They that wait upon the Lord – you can probably finish it on your own. Waiting will actually make us stronger. It will give us more stamina. It will help us soar above our problems like an eagle soars high in the sky. This will enable us to wait longer. We don’t like to wait. We are in a microwave generation that wants everything now. But if you are really serious about having a more effective prayer life, waiting is essential.
Asking, seeking and knocking. Sounds so easy doesn’t it? In reality, it is. Mastering prayer takes a lifetime of practice. The Lord’s direction in putting together “The A.S.K. Principle” has helped me see all the shortcomings of my prayer life. I am sure it will be a great addition to your library as well. If you would like your own copy, it is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble in both paperback and E-book format. Or you can get a signed copy from me by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read it and pass the word if you find it helpful!